The Stowaway Saga: Is Our Reward System Lop-sided?

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The Stowaway Saga

I stumbled on a Guardian Newspaper of Thursday 12th September, 2013 –in my job-seeking days no Thursday Guardian went by unnoticed- and there was a picture of Daniel Oikhena our famous stowaway, looking very handsome and beaming between a very cheerful Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomole and an equally ebullient George Uriesi CEO, Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria [FAAN], and my first thought was, really?

A few weeks ago, he was under investigation for stowing aboard a plane, and today, he’s a star? A role model?An outstanding citizen?An epitome of bravery? Should Daniel Oikhena be held out to other teenagers as a luminary for almost committing suicide and involuntary manslaughter?

In Nigeria, the oddest things happen. Our government decides to offer amnesty to suicidal Boko Haramists, whilst the Police live in squalor and deprivation. Is there a terrorist out there? Offer him money…a militant? Oh give them money too! That little boy that almost got himself killed? Give him money! So tell me, why shouldn’t the next vexed generation of young men turn to militancy? Why shouldn’t Daniel’s compatriots in Benin stowaway on some more planes?

I am glad for Daniel. His mad bravery has worked to his advancement. I see talk shows, interviews and red carpets in his future…an internship and a job awaiting the moment he is free of school. Daniel the stowaway is soon to be Daniel the star; and he has worked hard for it, hasn’t he?

So I wonder; in my mind’s corner, I ponder why the CEO of the FAAN is posing for a picture with the teenager who poured sand-sand in his garri. I wonder what deterrent has been put in place for other little boys who have dreams of jetting out of misery in wheel carriages 100,000 feet above the ground. I look at Daniel’s handsome face and I am so thankful he wasn’t subjected to the miserable death that others have died in same circumstances; but I don’t subscribe to brandishing pictures of him with the Governor who’s hanging in there as though he’s a fawning fan and Daniel is the celebrity…oops I forgot! He is a celebrity! He is the human experiment that showed that Nigerian Airports Security is woefully porous.

© 2013 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.

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